COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Oct 14

Allegro Pediatrics

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

by Allegro Pediatrics

COVID Booster Dose FAQs

Question: What is the new COVID booster?

Answer: Two new bivalent COVID boosters have recently been approved: a Pfizer booster for individuals 5-11 years old and a Moderna booster for those 6-11 years old. Please note that the dose for children 5-11 years old is smaller than the dose we already offer for adolescents 12 years and older.

Question: What is the difference between monovalent and bivalent vaccines?

Answer: Monovalent means that the vaccine targets only one strain of a virus. In the case of COVID, the monovalent vaccine targets the original strain of the COVID-19 virus only. Monovalent must be used for the primary series of a COVID vaccine. 

Bivalent means that the vaccine targets both the original strain of COVID-19 and the BA.4/BA.5 strains of the omicron variant. It is designed to boost immunity to both the original strain and the strain currently circulating in the community. Bivalent is only available as a booster dose in individuals 5 years and older. Bivalent shots will replace the monovalent vaccine as a booster because, like seasonal flu vaccines, it targets the current COVID variants.

Question: Who is eligible to receive the new bivalent booster?

Answer: Individuals 5 years and older are eligible to receive the new Pfizer booster if they completed their primary series of a COVID vaccine and it has been at least 2 months since their last dose of the vaccine. If your child (5+) has already received one booster dose, they are eligible to receive this new booster if it has been at least 2 months since their first booster. 

Question: When can my child receive the new bivalent booster and which brand will you offer?

Answer: We offer the Pfizer bivalent COVID booster for 5+ year old patients at scheduled Well Child Check-ups and follow-up visits. We are also planning a drive-thru event on November 5th for 5-11 year old patients to receive the Pfizer bivalent COVID booster.

Additionally, we offer COVID vaccine only appointments for established Allegro patients on Wednesday afternoons at our administration building. Please be aware that availability is currently very limited on these Wednesdays due to increased demand and limited staffing. 

Question: If my child recently had COVID infection, can they still get a COVID booster?

Answer: Yes. It is safe for your child to receive the new bivalent booster as soon as their isolation period from COVID infection has ended.

Question: I have heard that the immune response to the booster is better if I wait longer after my child was infected. Is that true?

Answer: It depends on your child and family’s risk factors. There is some evidence that waiting 3 months after infection produces a better immune response if your child has no risk factors. For patients who are immune suppressed, have chronic health conditions, or live with someone who is high-risk, it is better to not risk reinfection at all during the holiday season than to wait too long. We recommend high-risk children get a booster as soon as possible.

Question: What is the best timing to protect my child during the upcoming holiday season?

Answer: Your child should get their COVID booster at least two weeks prior to any travel or high-risk indoor gathering. Immunity after a booster vaccine is expected to last at least several months.

Question: Is the bivalent COVID booster for children 5-11 years old and the bivalent COVID booster for individuals 12+ the same dose?

Answer: No. Children under the age of 12 will get a smaller dose than adolescents and adults do.

Question: My child hasn't completed their primary series of the COVID vaccine. Can they still get the new bivalent booster?

Answer: No. Individuals 5 years and older must have completed their primary series of a monovalent COVID vaccine in order to be eligible to receive the new bivalent COVID booster. 

Question: Will you be offering a drive-thru clinic for the new booster to patients 5-11 years old?

Answer: Yes! We are offering a Drive-Thru Bivalent COVID Booster Clinic for children 5-11 years old on November 5th. Scheduling is available on our Schedule a Visit page. 

Question: Can my child get the bivalent booster at the same time as other vaccines?

Answer: Yes. Like all COVID vaccines, the new bivalent boosters are safe to get at the same time as any other routine childhood vaccination.

Question: Can my child receive the booster elsewhere in the community?

Answer: Yes. The bivalent booster is now offered at most local pharmacies and at Seattle Children's Hospital. Visit the Vaccine Locator to find an appointment in your area. 

Question: Is the original booster still available?

Answer: The FDA no longer authorizes the use of the original, monovalent Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to be used as booster doses in individuals 5+ years old for Pfizer and 6+ years old for Moderna.

Question: Does this change anything for children 6 months through 4 years old?

Answer: There is no change to the 6 months to 4 year old vaccines recommendations at this time. This age group is not yet eligible for a booster dose.

General COVID Vaccine FAQs:

Question: Who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and which brand do you offer?

Answer: All children 6 months and older are eligible to receive the Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccine. Allegro Pediatrics supports your family’s decision to receive either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccine. We do have limitations on what we can offer in clinic to our patients. At this time, we offer the Moderna vaccine to children 6 months – 4 years old because it is a two-dose series instead of Pfizer’s three-dose series for this age group. We will continue offering the Pfizer COVID vaccine to all patients 5 years and older. Please visit Vaccinate WA to find vaccine locations in the community if you would prefer a different brand for your child’s specific age range.

Below is an overview of the approved vaccines by brand and age, as well as what is offered at Allegro Pediatrics.

covid-vaccine-eligibility---updated-october-2022v3.png

Question: Can my child get their COVID vaccine at a regular in-clinic appointment?

Answer: All doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine for patients 5+, including booster doses, are available at scheduled Well Child Check-ups and follow-up appointments. The Moderna COVID vaccine for patients 6 months - 4 years old is available at scheduled Well Child Check-ups and follow-up appointments. We also offer COVID vaccine only appointments for current Allegro patients on Wednesday afternoons at our administrative building. Please be aware that availability is currently very limited on these Wednesdays due to increased demand and limited staffing. 

Question: What if my child can't get the second dose of the COVID vaccine at exactly the recommended interval?

Pfizer: We recommend your child get their second dose 3 weeks after the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. If for any reason they cannot, know that 3 weeks is a minimum interval. You should schedule the second vaccine as soon as possible after 3 weeks.

Moderna: We recommend your child get their second dose 4 weeks after the first dose of the Moderna vaccine. If for any reason they cannot, know 4 weeks is a minimum interval. You should schedule the second vaccine as soon as possible after 4 weeks.

Question: What do you recommend if my child is 11 years now but will be turning 12 years soon?

Answer: We advise that every patient get protected against COVID-19 infection as soon as they are eligible. Any patient who gets their first dose when they are 11 years old then turns 12 years old before their second dose should receive the 12+ year-old dose for their second shot. 

Question: What if my child is 4 years old when they receive their first dose of the Moderna vaccine but turns 5 before receiving their second dose?

Answer: While we primarily only offer this brand to patients 6 months - 4 years old, the Moderna vaccine is approved for use in children 6 months through 5 years old. Your child can receive their second dose of the Moderna vaccine if they turn 5 before their second dose. If your child waits to receive the vaccine at an in clinic appointment after they turn 5 years old, we will have the Pfizer vaccine available to them.

Question: My child is medically complex. Is there anything I need to consider before getting them vaccinated against COVID?

Answer: No. The approved COVID vaccines have been shown to safe for kids. Medically complex children are at highest risk for complications from COVID infection, so it is very important to ensure they are protected as soon as possible.

Question: My child has a history of allergies to food, the environment, or medicine. Is it safe for them to get this vaccine?

Answer: Yes. When reviewing the data of the tens of millions of vaccines given around the world, only a few patients in total experienced a severe allergic reaction. As a precautionary measure, we monitor all patients for 15 minutes after they receive their COVID vaccine and ask any patient with a history of severe allergic reactions (needing an Epi-Pen) to be observed by medical personal for 30 minutes after their shot.

Question: Is COVID infection actually impacting children?

Answer: Yes! More than 13.5 million children have been infected by COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. Children represent 18.9% of total cumulated cases. 

Question: Are kids really getting very sick from COVID-19 infection?

Answer: Just because adults tend to get far sicker than children, doesn’t mean that COVID-19 infection in kids is no big deal.

  • Severe Illness: Over 8,500 children developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), a serious condition occurring several weeks after COVID-19 infection that affects multiple organ systems (such as heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs) and can cause long-lasting effects.
  • Hospitalizations: More than 3,970 children 0-4 years old and 4,720 children 5-17 years old have been hospitalized due to COVID-19.
  • Deaths: Sadly, over 442 children 0-4 years old and 815 children 5-18 years old have died due to COVID-19.
  • Long COVID-19: 7-8% of kids experience long-haul COVID-19. This can cause ongoing physical symptoms as well as impact quality of life including: limitations of physical activity, feeling distressed about symptoms, mental health challenges, decreased school attendance/participation.

The vaccine significantly lessens the incidence of transmission, serious disease, hospitalizations, and death in all ages.

Question: Is it safer to wait and see if there are long-term side effects of the COVID vaccine?

Answer: No. In the history of vaccines, most serious side effects occur in the first month—really the first days and weeks—that a vaccine is given. We recommend that you do not wait because we believe the true risks of COVID infection far outweigh the minimal risks of COVID vaccine. In the history of medicine, it is much more likely that a virus (COVID infection) will trigger an autoimmune problem than a single protein delivered by a vaccine.

Question: What side effects can my kid expect from the vaccine?

Answer: Vaccine companies have studied a variety of lower doses to find the optimal match between providing protection while minimizing side effects. The Pfizer pediatric vaccine is one-third the adult dose, so the trials showed fewer of the temporary side effects that many adults and teens who got Pfizer vaccine experienced. Additionally, the Moderna vaccine for those 6 months to 4 years old is one-fourth the adult dose. Reported side effects are minimal and may include sore arms, fever, fatigue, body aches, diarrhea, nausea, headache, or redness and pain at the injection site.

Question: Will my child be excluded from school due to vaccine side effects?

Answer: While there are some reactions that mimic illness, there is clear guidance that symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell can only come from COVID infection. If your child experiences any of those symptoms, your child should be tested. Symptoms such as fever, fatigue, muscle aches, diarrhea, nausea, and headache could be from either the vaccine or from infection so should be monitored at home. If these reactions self-resolve in 1-2 days, they are due to the vaccine and your child should return to school. If they continue past two days or worsen rather than improve, you should have your child tests or seen by a provider. If your child has soreness, redness, or swelling in the arm at the injection site, that can only be due to a strong immune response to the vaccine, in which case your child is not contagious so if they feel well enough, they should continue to attend school.

Question: My child already tested positive for COVID-19, should they still get vaccinated?

Answer: Yes, the CDC recommends getting vaccinated, even if you have already been sick with COVID-19. Early research suggests that even if you have had COVID-19, natural immunity may not last very long. Additionally, it is not known how long after being infected with COVID-19 you may be able to get it again, and reinfection has occurred in the community. Receiving the vaccine will better protect you from contracting the virus again. Here is some information on special situations that may impact the timing of receiving a COVID vaccine:

  • If your child had a known COVID-19 exposure: Wait for quarantine period to end before vaccinating
  • If your child is currently sick with COVID-19: Wait for illness to resolve and for the isolation period to end
  • If your child received monoclonal antibody: Wait 90 days from infusion to vaccinate to prevent inactivating the COVID-19 vaccine
  • If your child was diagnosed with MIS-C: Wait 90 days from hospital discharge

Question: Does my child need to delay regular vaccines if they get COVID vaccine?

Answer: No. Although the CDC initially recommended a 14-day waiting period between all vaccines and the COVID vaccine, it has since been proven to be safe when given at any time before or after any other vaccine, including the seasonal flu vaccine.

Question: Is it possible to get COVID from the COVID vaccine?

Answer: No. None of the approved COVID vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19.

Question: What do you recommend for pregnant or breastfeeding moms who are eligible to receive the COVID vaccine?

Answer: The CDC has released new data on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant and breastfeeding individuals. It has been found that pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people. Receiving a COVID vaccine is the best way to prevent severe illness from COVID. There is currently no evidence that receiving the COVID vaccine causes fertility problems in women or men. We recommend you contact your obstetrician to discuss your individual risk factors.

Question: How do mRNA vaccines work?

Answer: The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines both use mRNA technology. While this is the first time it’s being widely used in a vaccine for the public, this type of vaccine has been researched for more than three decades. Watch this quick animation that explains how mRNA vaccines work!